El País

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El País
El Pais logo 2007.svg
Type Daily newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) PRISA
Founder(s) José Ortega Spottorno
Publisher Ediciones El País, S.L.
Editor-in-chief Antonio Caño
Associate editor Lluis Bassets
Founded 4 May 1976; 38 years ago (1976-05-04)
Language Spanish
Headquarters Madrid, Spain
Circulation 369,707 (2011)[1]
Sister newspapers Cinco Días, Diario AS
ISSN 0213-4608
Official website www.elpais.com

El País (About this sound listen ; literally The Country) is the highest-circulation daily newspaper in Spain[1] and one of three Madrid dailies considered to be national newspapers of record for Spain (along with El Mundo and ABC).[citation needed] El País, based in Madrid, is owned by the Spanish media conglomerate PRISA.

Its headquarters and central editorial staff are located in Madrid, although there are regional offices in the principal Spanish cities (Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, Bilbao, Santiago de Compostela) where regional editions are produced. El País also produces a world edition that is printed and distributed in Latin America.[2]


El País was founded by a team at PRISA which included José Ortega Spottorno and Carlos Mendo.[3] The paper was designed by Reinhard Gade and Julio Alonso. It was first published on 4 May 1976.[4] six months after the death of dictator Francisco Franco, and at the beginning of the Spanish transition to democracy. It was the first pro-democracy newspaper within a context where all the other Spanish newspapers were influenced by Franco's ideology.[5] El País filled a gap in the market and became the newspaper of Spanish democracy, for which role El País was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and the Humanities in 1983, at a time when the transition from Franco's dictatorship to democracy was still developing. The paper's first Director (until 1988) was Juan Luis Cebrián, who came from the daily newspaper Informaciones. Like many other Spanish journalists of the time he had worked for the Diario Pueblo (People's Daily) which was a mouthpiece for the Francist sindicato vertical.

Its reputation as a bastion of Spanish democracy was established during the attempted coup d'etat by Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Tejero of the Guardia Civil on 23 February 1981. During the uncertain situation of the night of 23 February 1981, with all the members of parliament held hostage in the Congress building and with tanks on the streets of Valencia, and before the state television station could transmit a speech by King Juan Carlos I condemning the coup, El País published a special edition of the newspaper called 'El País, for the Constitution'. It was the first daily paper on the streets that night with a clear pro-democracy position calling on citizens to demonstrate in favour of democracy. It was widely discussed in the news media that the then director of El País, Juan Luis Cebrián, telephoned the then director of Diario 16, Pedro J. Ramírez, in order to propose that both newspapers work on a joint publication in defence of democracy and Ramírez refused, claiming that he would prefer to wait a few hours to see how the situation developed. Diario 16 was not published until after a television broadcast by the king. Along with its commitment to democracy before the attempted coup of 23 February 1981, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party's election victory in 1982 with an absolute majority and its open support for the government of Felipe González,[citation needed] meant that El País consolidated its position during the 1980s as the Spanish newspaper with the most sales ahead of the conservative leaning ABC.

Both the rigorous journalistic standards and the fact that it was the first Spanish newspaper to establish internal quality control standards have increased the standing of El País. It was also the first Spanish daily to create the role of Reader's Advocate (equivalent to the Press Ombudsman in Britain) and in publishing a "Style Guide" that has become a benchmark for quality amongst journalists.[6] El País has also established a number of collaborative agreements with other European newspapers with a social democrat viewpoint. In 1989, El País participated in the creation of a common network of information resources with La Repubblica in Italy and Le Monde in France. Since October 2001, an English language supplement of El País has been included in the Spanish version of the International Herald Tribune. This content can also be found on El País' internet site http://elpais.com/elpais/inenglish.html.

At the beginning of the 1990s, El País had to face a new political and journalistic challenge. The increasing political tensions caused by corruption scandals involving the socialist government of Felipe González polarized both the Spanish political classes and the press of the left and right wings. Since that time both the Partido Popular and the media aligned with it have accused El País and the other companies owned by PRISA.[7][8] along with Sogecable[9][10] of supporting the interests of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE). Despite this, El País has managed to maintain its position as the best selling generalist daily in Spain, although its lead over El Mundo has been reduced. The daily was awarded the World’s Best Designed Newspaper™ for 2006 by the Society for News Design (SND).[11]

On 26 September 2007, the paper published the Bush-Aznar memo, a leaked transcript of a closed-door meeting between U.S. president George W. Bush and Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar, shortly before the invasion of Iraq.[12]

During the premiership of the PSOE's José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero El País published several articles criticising or opposing the policies of the Zapatero government.[citation needed] This provided opportunities for new entrants to represent the centre left, such as the appearance of the daily newspaper Público.

In october 2014, El Pais launches a digital edition in Catalan.[13]


The appearance of El País is characterized by its sobriety, in both its treatment of information and its esthetics. Most pages contain five columns arranged in a neat and clear manner with distinct journalistic sub-categories. Photographs and graphics play a secondary, supporting role to the written word. The newspaper has had the same design from its foundation until the end of 2007, with hardly any changes (it used only black-and-white photographs, although the current format includes colour and more imaginative design, mainly in the varied supplements), and the same Times Roman font.[14]

The newspaper's format was revamped on 21 October 2007 with changes to its printed form, its digital presence on the Internet and the replacement of its historical motto 'Independent morning daily' with 'Global Spanish language newspaper'.[15] Other notable changes are the inclusion of the acute accent in its title header and the substitution of Times Roman by Majerit.

Opinion polls cited in El País are all carried out by a separate company called Instituto OPINA.

Electronic edition[edit]

In the mid-1990s, El País was the second Spanish newspaper to publish an internet edition, El País digital (the first was the Catalan newspaper Avui). On 18 November 2002, it became the first Spanish newspaper to introduce a payment system for access to the contents of its electronic version, which drastically reduced the number of visits to the website, to the extent that El Mundo, which maintained open access to the majority of its contents, became the leading Spanish digital newspaper. After taking this decision El País digital was suspended in 2002 by the Oficina de Justificación de la Difusión for four months because of two serious breaches of OJD regulations.[16] The El País digital website opened again on 3 June 2005 with free access to the majority of the contents. Subscription was required to gain access to multimedia contents and to the newspaper's archive.


El País produces a number of supplements:

  • Wednesdays:
    • Futuro, (English: Future) supplement on science.
  • Thursdays:
  • Fridays:
    • EP[3], previously known as El País de las Tentaciones, (English: The Country of Temptations) youth supplement.
    • Ocio, (English: Leisure) supplement on cultural activities.
  • Saturdays:
    • Babelia', cultural supplement specializing in literature and
    • El Viajero, (English: The Traveller) on travel.
  • Sundays:
    • the magazine El País Semanal (English: El País Weekly) previously called EP[S] on fashion, reports and opinion,
    • Negocios, (English: Business) financial supplement.

The supplement designed for children, Pequeño País (English: Small Country), ceased publication in 2009.

A number of publications issued in installments have also been produced throughout its history:

  • Classic and Modern Comics (1987).


The paper's ideology has always been defined by a leaning towards Europeanism. Politically, it was situated in the centre-left in the past, but currently it is situated in conservative positions.[17] El País has repeatedly supported King Juan Carlos I for his contribution to the consolidation of democracy, especially, for his decisive intervention in aborting the coup of 23 February 1981.[18] The paper is characterized by the amount of space it gives to the reporting of international news, culture and information regarding the economy, as well as Spanish news. It has specific columnists and contributors from different social backgrounds contributing to the democratic and pro-European editorial line of the newspaper.

Criticism of Che Guevara, the "populist left" and the Government of Venezuela[edit]

The paper has criticized figures such as Che Guevara and his idea of armed struggle.[19]

El País has also been critical of the so-called "populist left" in Latin America. In April 2002, it termed the failed coup in Venezuela as a "coup against a tyrant", accusing Hugo Chávez of authoritarianism and of eliminating the separation of powers.[20] The paper criticized Chávez again regarding the Venezuelan constitutional referendum of 2007, accusing him of holding the referendum without the least "minimal guarantees", of restricting the actions of the National Electoral Council, and of tampering with the electoral roll.[21] The Venezuelan government, through the Ministry of Popular Power for Communication and Information, considers El País to be one of the Spanish newspapers most critical of the left-wing governments of Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Bolivia.[22]

On 24 January 2013, El País published a false report about the health status of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, with false photography of an unknown man from a 2008 video.[23][24] The Venezuelan government announced legal action against El País,[25] and criticized both the violation of journalistic ethics as well as the violation of the patients' rights of President Chávez and others.


The 16 February edition of El País was banned in Morocco due to the publication of a cartoon which, according to the Moroccan authorities, tarnished King Mohammed VI's name.[26]

Notable contributors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Figures covering July 2010 to June 2011 from Spain's Oficina de Justificación de la Difusión[dead link], Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  2. ^ «título=ELPAIS.com – Diario El País S.L», El Pais.
  3. ^ "Bis'El País' Co-founder Mendo Dead at 77". Editor & Publisher. 25 August 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010. [dead link]
  4. ^ Breve historia de El País, El Pais.
  5. ^ Almiron, Nuria; Ana I. Segovia (2012). "Financialization, Economic Crisis, and Corporate Strategies in Top Media Companies: The Case of Grupo Prisa" 6. pp. 2894–2917. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  6. ^ For which role El País was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Communication and the Humanities in 1973[dead link]
  7. ^ «Eva Cuesta, el penúltimo fichaje del PSOE en PRISA». Artículo de Periodista Digital (24 January 2007).
  8. ^ «Prisa y PSOE se apoyan mutuamente para seguir en el poder: dinero y publicidad a mantas[dead link]». Artículo de Por Andalucía Libre mencionando declaraciones de El Mundo 7 February 2007.
  9. ^ "Sogecable responde a la llamada del PSOE y pide al Gobierno que Canal+ emita siempre en abierto", Artículo de Libertad Digital, ya solo consultable en TodoInternet.com.
  10. ^ "CC y PSOE prorrogan a Sogecable el contrato de la Televisión Canaria y el PP anuncia que lo impugnará". Libertad Digital 9 May 2007
  11. ^ "World’s Best-Designed winners (2006)". Society for News Design. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "El País on Bush, Aznar, and Iraq". Harper's Magazine
  13. ^ EL PAÍS launches digital edition published in Catalan language, elpais.com, October 6, 2014
  14. ^ «Unos buenos tipos». El País 14 October 2007.
  15. ^ "El País será el periódico global en español", El País (9 October 2007)
  16. ^ «La OJD sanciona con cuatro meses de expulsión a El País Digital por faltas graves». ABC 24 July 2002.
  17. ^ In the words of the former Spanish Economy Minister for the Partido Popular Rodrigo Rato and Chairman of the International Monetary Fund (Adictos al periódico. Especial 10.000 números. 18 October 2004):

    All (good) newspapers have their political leanings. [...] I read it because it describes the position of the centre-left and of the political left-wing.

  18. ^ «Injurias a la Corona». Editorial de El País (28 July 2007).
  19. ^ Caudillo Guevara, editorial de El País, 10 October 2007.

    ... Che Guevara [..] belonged to that sinister saga of tragic heroes, still present in the terrorist movements of various types, from the nationalists to the Jihadists, who try to hide the fact they are assassins by claiming to be martyrs, prolonging the old prejudice inherited from Romanticism. The fact that Che Guevara gave his life and sacrificed those of many others does not improve his ideas, that drink from the springs of one of the great totalitarian systems. [..] the only attestable contribution of the insurgent followers of Guevara to Latin American politics was to offer new alibis to the authoritarian tendencies that were germinating on the continent. Thanks to his armed challenge, the right-wing military dictators could present themselves as a lesser evil, if not a inevitable requisite opposing another symmetrical military dictatorship, such as that lead by Castro [..] In the four decades that have passed since his death, the Latin American left and, of course, that in Europe, has completely expedited his goals and fanatical methods. To the point where today the only people who commemorate the date of his execution in La Higuera are the governments that subjugate the Cubans or those that invoke Simón Bolívar in their populist harangues.

  20. ^ Golpe a un caudillo (editorial sobre el golpe de Estado en Venezuela contra Hugo Chávez)
  21. ^ La careta de Chávez, editorial de El País, 18 November 2007.
  22. ^ La guerra mediática contra Venezuela desde el diario español El País
  23. ^ EL PAÍS retira una falsa foto de Hugo Chávez | Internacional|El Pais
  24. ^ Spanish Paper El País Makes a Fool of Itself | venezuelanalysis.com
  25. ^ Venezuela to take legal actions against El Pais | AVN
  26. ^ "Morocco bans Spanish paper over royal cartoon". Doha Center for Media Freedom. 19 February 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  27. ^ El dibujante chileno Fernando Krahn muere en Barcelona, El Periódico (in Spanish), 18 February 2010 

External links[edit]